Mudvayne are one of the most influential bands when it comes to the genre of music they helped to pioneer.
When they dropped their debut album L.D 50 in the year 2000 it is fair to say the entire sonic landscape of heavy metal shifted irreversibly and the nu-metal movement that had until then just been threatening to take flight now had a tough-as-nails pilot who was unafraid to break convention and expectation without fear of retribution.
Quite simply, Mudvayne took a collective musical vision and rebirthed that vision in their own image.
And, more importantly, made it work.
After continuing their steep upward trajectory for another decade after that debut release, Mudvayne disbanded without a declaration of resolve and just like that it was feared the four menacing nu-metal warriors would be lost to a world with still so much left to give.
Frontman Chad Gray went on to form Hellyeah and the success of that band all but extinguished any rumblings of a Mudvayne reunion before tragedy struck when Hellyeah drummer Vinnie Paul succumbed to illness and passed this world, leaving Grey with an empty musical chasm that was still far from being satiated.
In 2021 the news the metal world had been sweating on broke that Mudvayne would be getting back together for select festival shows which planted the seeds of revival that grew and flourished rapidly to the stage that Mudvayne could now be recognised as a fully-fledged touring outfit once more.
Having always held a soft spot for their Australian fans, Mudvayne have declared February 2024 as payback time for their patient followers on this side of the world, bringing with them another reunion success story in the once more Dez Fafara led Coal Chamber.
Shortly after news of the tour broke HEAVY sat down for some quality time with Chad Gray who was more than happy to open up about the past, present and future of Mudvayne.
We start by extending a warm display of gratitude on behalf of all Australian metal lovers.
“It’s been almost two decades, so…” he laughed. “I guess it’s about time.”
Such is the global hype generated by Mudvayne being back together the band could have pretty much asked any other international outfit to join them for this tour, so why settle on Coal Chamber?
“I go way back with Miguel and Mikey,” he explained. “We go back a long way. It’s just gonna be rad. I mean, we just did it here in this past Summer with them – a couple of weeks ago actually, we just got home – but we had a blast with those guys, so it was kind of a no-brainer to bring them down with us. We figured that you guys would enjoy them too. Everybody is just playing really well. They did phenomenal over the Summer, so we had to bring them with us.”
It’s been a large number of years between visits, so we press Gray on – aside from the obvious – has changed with the band since they were last here.
“Man, not much,” he measured. “We weren’t a band for ten years, and then we started out the conversation and everybody started being genuinely excited about it again. We surrounded ourselves with some new people that we’re working with and doing business with, and they’re exciting and fun and really helping us embrace Mudvayne and what we’ve done. We’re just so excited to be coming to Australia. We had those three comeback festivals, and then we did the tour last year with Zombie, and we’ve just been sitting around. We did this most recent tour, and we heard mutterings of Australia and was so excited about it because I love Australia. There’s a lot of history down there. When we heard it was solidified we were on a conference call and everyone was so excited and so jived and so pumped about coming back. We all absolutely love Australia. We love as much as how beautiful the country is, it’s the people. The metal community in Australia is so dope. We’re just really excited to get back down there and play for you guys again. You guys are very, very special to us. I always say if you’re going to release an album somewhere, you better be going some place warm. We’ve released albums in Australia, so we’ve gotta go down and play there for you. That’s the way it goes.”
Aside from camera footage that has emerged from their US shows, little has surfaced surrounding Mudvayne’s live performances. Despite already knowing the answer to an extent we ask Gray what fans can expect from Mudvayne 2024.
“Intensity,” he deadpanned. “It’s there, and solid man. We’re really feeding off each other; we’re feeding off the crowd. There’s an awesome energy that goes back and forth between us and our crowd, and it just builds and builds and builds and builds through the whole set. It’s just amazing. It’s intense, it’s helpless, it’s frenetic, it’s crazy, it’s angsty and angry and almost violent, but on the other sense it’s sad, and it’s helpless. But there’s a lot of good feelings in there too. Metal runs the gamut of human emotion and that’s always been something that we’ve tried to tap into. It’s important to us to bring that to our live performance. That level of emotion that is very true and very real and very honest and very vulnerable.”
In the full interview, Chad talks about the 2010 breakup of Mudvayne and what changed ten years later to make them try again, how the first couple of shows went after being apart for so long, the progression from festival shows to touring with Rob Zombie to doing headline shows and if that was a planned progression, if Mudvayne will be touring in full makeup, the early days of the band and their formation, how far nu metal has come since Mudvayne started and if it has evolved the way he thought, what he considers Mudvayne‘s role in heavy metal, new music or an album and more.
Tickets available here: https://thephoenix.au/mudvayne/#tour/